Most sales managers wish they had the ability to accurately predict what the future is going to look like for their companies. Members of the sales team wish that their sales managers can accurately provide advance warning of any potential issues that may impact their sales.
As with the weather, sales forecasting can be unpredictable at times; even inaccurate. This has a huge impact on the sales team. A sales manager who optimistically predicts that the future is bright may inadvertently set the sales team up for disaster if the prediction doesn’t come to fruition. On the same hand, if a sales manager pessimistically predicts a less than stellar sales future, the sales team may lose motivation and drive and essentially create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What is a sales manager to do then?
Dave Kurlan in his Understanding the Sales Force blog offers reasons why forecasting may be inaccurate for sales managers.
- They lack a formal, staged, criteria-based pipeline.
- They lack a functional, sales-specific CRM or Pipeline Management application.
- Their sales process is not integrated into the CRM/Pipeline Management application.
- Salespeople have the power to suggest the likelihood of closing.
- Salespeople have the power to override the application’s weighting of an opportunity.
- Salespeople fail to LIVE in the CRM application, providing infrequent updates, causing most report and dashboard data to be outdated.
- There is a lack of accountability for keeping the application up-to-date – not weekly, not daily, but in real-time!
- The data being entered is not being inspected by management.
- Nobody cares about getting it right.
- The concept of pipeline management has not been integrated into the culture.
If a weather forecast is inaccurate, we chalk it up to changing patterns or unexpected obstacles. However, we still move forward and do what we need to do. We just grab an umbrella “just in case” or keep a jacket in our car.
For the sales team, it isn’t that simple. Sales Managers need to tackle their obstacles head on and work to have a more accurate pipeline forecast. If the obstacle is the sales force, then sales coaching may be a good solution.
In order to get sales forecasting moving in the right direction, Kural cites the following issues that sales managers may want to address during their coaching sessions:
- Fear of Rejection
- Need for Approval (Need to be Liked)
- Fear of being wrong
- Pressure to find new opportunities
- Consequences of removing an opportunity and its related value from the forecast and/or pipeline
Unlike the weather, pipeline forecasting can be accurate and can improve the sales of a company, as well as the performance of the team as a whole. It requires commitment from all involved.
Einstein Marketing Group can help Sales Managers work towards more accurate pipeline forecasting. Contact us today! We guarantee that you will see results in the first 30 days!